BPL Match 31 – Rangpur Riders V Sylhet Sixers – Fantasy Preview

A battle between two BPL sides who have an array of batting class in their line-ups will face off at Chittagong tomorrow evening. If you’re looking for a match that will guarantee big-hitting from a number of International stars, this is the match for you!

Rangpur Riders

Sit back and enjoy the show people, tomorrows BPL fixture promises to be an entertaining one with some big names set to take the field for both sides. The Rangpur Riders have well & truly resurrected their campaign after a pretty-ominous start to the tournament. They’ve gone from a team that didn’t have the firepower to get them over the line at the start, to a powerhouse side with two of the most damaging batsman at the top of their order in world cricket which has definitely boosted the team moral & more than likely given them a lot more confidence as the tournament has progressed. Since joining the Riders around mid-November, Chris Gayle has done the damage required at the top of the order with a couple of fifties to his name as well as some big-hitting in the innings he missed out on, even his starts seemed to inspire the team. At the other end of the crease, former Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum has found it tough going early on, averaging just 13.80 with the bat from his five matches. Although one of the two big names for Rangpur are down on their output, the unique thing about both McCullum and Gayle is that they have the ability to kill any momentum the other team has managed to build up with breathtaking knocks that have to be seen to be believed, their ability to hit six after six and four after four is something that many aspire to do a handful of times, let alone be renown for it. Riders skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has thrown a spanner in the works in the last few matches when he decided to elevate himself up the order, working perfectly as the Bangladeshi turned into a pinch-hitter at No. 3 against the Vikings and scored a quick-fire & very impressive 42 off just 17 balls.

Along with Mortaza’s roll of the dice to throw himself into the action early on & succeed, the likes of Mohammad Mithun and Ravi Bopara have also played some crucial knocks with the bat throughout the tournament to keep Rangpur in the contest despite losing a fair chunk of them early on. Even all-rounder Thisara Perera shown his ability to strike the ball over the fence the other day when he clubbed three sixes to get Rangpur home against Chittagong. Their bowling is far-less threatening, but Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga has been consistent since returning to the side adding four wickets in his past three matches, although he still seems to be a fair way off his influential-best. Mashrafe Mortaza continues to play a key role for the Riders in the bowling attack, conjuring up 9 wickets in the tournament so far with just one wicketless outing to his name, easily Rangpur’s most consistent bowler in the BPL. Bangladesh’s Rubel Hossain had a small period where he managed to produce some handy spells against the Dynamites & Titans, taking 2/29 and 3/35 respectively. The fact that West Indian spinner Samuel Badree hasn’t been used yet is ludicrous, and that doesn’t look like changing with Malinga taking up one of the overseas players spots in the side as a bowler. England all-rounder David Willey is another who hasn’t been picked in the starting side as of yet, they have so many foreign options to play around with it makes it hard to get a look in at the moment.

Sylhet Sixers

They’ve been walking a fine line from completely bottoming out in this years BPL, after such a promising start they’ve managed to make an absolute mess of a good situation with some average showings since their dominant display in the Sylhet-faze of the tournament. The Sixers opening batting combination looked stronger than ever with Upul Tharanga and Andre Fletcher looking like taking the BPL by storm, Tharanga in particular who started the tournament with three-consecutive fifties. Since then, both have been dropped from the side in various stages of the competition along with some very average efforts from their local batsman Sabbir Rahman who was expected to play a significant role for Sylhet in the top order. They’re slowly getting back on track, but it’s taken a while for the likes of Rahman and Fletcher to show signs of returning to form with some much-needed confidence boosting innings. Rahman had a real dirty patch five games into the tournament, but he’s managed to fire back with scores of 41 & 70 in two of his past three innings which is a sign that his form is on the up. West Indies Andre Fletcher has also managed to get back in the runs with a superb 71 against the Vikings in a losing affair in his last game. The addition of star Pakistani batsman Babar Azam has been a timely one, the 23-year-old looked solid in his last outing against Chittagong scoring 41. Sri Lankan all-rounder Danushka Gunathilaka has been a healthy contributor in the runs department for the Sixers, but his last two innings have been relatively quiet which could open the door for Tharanga.

Sixers captain Nasir Hossain has done quite a good job in terms of contributing runs & wickets so far, but his team haven’t been able to sense the occasion as much as he has which is a shame. While Hossain is not a huge accumulator of runs and wickets, he’s still been able to chip in with 142 runs batting in the middle/lower order and currently has 6 wickets to his name (not a genuine wicket taker in this format). Like any other twenty20 team, you’re going to have problems at some point or another in the bowling department in over a long-duration tournament like this. Apart form the Dhaka Dynamites, every teams has had their ups and downs in this area of the game so far in the BPL. Sylhet didn’t have an overly-strong bowling squad coming into the BPL, so it was always going to make things that much harder as the tournament dragged on. Both Krishmar Santokie and Liam Plunkett had reasonable starts to the tournament with the ball, but surprisingly ended up on the outer just a couple games after. Bangladeshi duo Taijul Islam and Abul Hasan started quite positively as well, but even they lost their way which hasn’t helped Sylhet’s cause it must be said. Changes may be considered given they’re coming up against two batsman who show very-little mercy when it comes to average bowling, or any bowling for that matter.

Fantasy Breakdown

Top 5 fantasy picks | Rangpur Riders | BPL | 31st match | Chittagong

  • Chris Gayle
  • Mashrafe Mortaza
  • Mohammad Mithun
  • Rubel Hossain
  • Brendon McCullum

Wildcard pick – Nahidul Islam

Top 5 fantasy picks | Sylhet Sixers | BPL | 31st match | Chittagong

  • Babar Azam
  • Andre Fletcher
  • Nasir Hossain
  • Abul Hasan
  • Sabbir Rahman

Wildcard pick – Kamrul Islam Rabbi


Team XI’s

Rangpur Riders (possible) – 1. Brendon McCullum 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mashrafe Mortaza (c) 4. Mohammad Mithun (wk) 5. Ravi Bopara/David Willey 6. Nahidul Islam 7. Thisara Perera 8. Shahriar Nafees/Ziaur Rahman 9. Sohag Gazi 10. Rubel Hossain 11. Lasith Malinga.

Sylhet Sixers (possible) – 1. Danushka Gunathilaka/Upul Tharanga 2. Andre Fletcher 3. Babar Azam 4. Sabbir Rahman 5. Nasir Hossain (c) 6. Tim Bresnan/Ross Whiteley/Chaturanga de Silva 7. Nurul Hasan (wk) 8. Abul Hasan 9. Kamrul Islam Rabbi 10. Ghulam Mudassar/Mohammad Sharif 11. Taijul Islam/Nabil Samad.



Zak Varik

Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.

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